Suicide is more common than you think. According to researchers, 20% of people think about it, 20% of people have a plan, and 10% of people actually carry it out. Fortunately, the vast majority of those suicide attempts aren’t successful. Pausing on that statistic, it’s not immediately obvious what’s more normal – wanting to live or wanting to not be here. And chances are, if you’re not in that dark place, someone you know is. Is it the woman at the corner table at the café you’re eating at at or the man standing behind you in line at the post office? With a problem this pervasive, you have to know what to do. Someone’s life literally depends on it.
Rule number one, you can’t be afraid to ask. You know your neighbor has been struggling since he lost his job last month. You know your husband has been staying up late watching YouTube until 3 in the morning. Your wife keeps screaming at the kids and then retreats into the bedroom telling you she can’t anymore. You have to go to them and gently ask, “I’ve noticed it’s been hard for you the past while. I care about you and I’m worried. I know this might sound like a silly question but any thoughts of not wanting to be here?”
Rule number two, you’ve got to get this person into therapy. Unfortunately, especially for Americans, suicide is on the rise. Fortunately, therapy works. Getting your loved one in to talk to a professional is the best chance they have of getting out from under the pain that has them pinned down. Most people don’t want to die. Rather, they having a hard time finding the solutions they need to make their life worth living. Therapy helps heal old regrets, outlines what a person deeply wants, and enables them to set their life straight.
Finally, rule number three. In an emergency, when push comes to shove, you can’t hesitate to call emergency services. The first thought people have at a time like that is often not wanting to hurt the person they’re calling for. We don’t want embarrass them or make them feel like we’re controlling them. We don’t want rumors to spread and the last thing we want is to betray their secrets. We’re coming from a good place but waiting only leads to a bad place. The good news is by following rules one and two the chances are slim we’ll have to enact rule three. But if we have to, it’s the best thing we can be doing under the circumstances.
Yonasan Bender, SW graduated from Hebrew University’s School of Social Work. He has his psychotherapy practice at The Place: The Jerusalem Centre for Emotional Wellbeing. To share your thoughts, experiences, questions, or a different perspective, you can reach Yonasan Bender at 053-808-0435 or email him by clicking HERE. To learn more about him and his work, click HERE.
About The Place
The Place is where therapists, individuals and the community connect to create safety, strength and success. At The Place, men and women discover the freedom and safety to move past those issues which are preventing them from living life to its fullest. Our goal is to help each of our clients discover his or her own strengths as powerful tools in the healing process.
The Place is a multi-faceted clinic offering both individual and group therapy, support groups, interactive evenings and lectures, educational classes, and drop-in hours. Our comfortable, confidential, relaxed environment allows clients and their families to explore sensitive issues and create positive change. We believe that the key to mental health and emotional well-being is inside you.
At The Place, male and female therapists work independently or as a team to explore sensitive issues and facilitate positive change for individuals, couples and families from all sectors of the community. Some of our specialties include emotional eating, grief counseling, internet addiction, phobias, anxiety & OCD, childhood challenges, premarital counseling, couples therapy and intimacy issues, postpartum support, personality disorders, psychiatric care, and more. Connect with a caring professional in person at our comfortable Jerusalem offices, or by video, phone, and text. We’re here for you.
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